It only took eight hours, but it’s changed my perspective on how I see people I interact with in my work and personal life.
Recently my co-workers and I used one of our two volunteer days (what Netsmart calls EveryDayMatters Days) to take the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course and learn more about mental illness and how to help people going through difficult times. Netsmart is among only a handful of companies nationwide offering this training directly to their associates at work instead of leaving it to us to pursue on our own time.
It’s usually easy to recognize physical illnesses in others. But thanks to MHFA, my eyes were opened to look for signs of mental health or substance use issues in family members, friends and colleagues. More importantly, MFA training equipped me with an action plan to use if I encounter someone who might be in trouble. That’s powerful. It’s got me thinking about what a major difference we can collectively make.
The breadth and depth of the problem of mental illness is significant. We learned that one in four Americans experience a mental health or addiction disorder each year. The trainers who visited my workplace also shared their personal stories about how mental illness has impacted their lives. Hearing those stories, relating to those stories and understanding how a single, concerned individual can help others chart a new course made a big impression on the 20+ people in our certification class. It’s one thing to hear about the financial costs associated with mental illness in the workplace – business losses of an estimated $80 to $100 million – but to listen to tales of the personal losses inflicted by treatable diseases of the mind…that hits home.
The American Heart Association estimates that about 30 percent of our country’s population is trained in CPR. But at the beginning of 2016, there were only 660,000 trained in Mental Health First Aid. The National Council for Behavioral Health’s “Be 1 in a Million” campaign’s goal is to train one million people in MFA by the end of the year. I’m thrilled to be able to make a difference as one of those trained to help.
Some $25 billion to $45 billion per year is lost on poor transitions of care, meaning a failure of the healthcare system to properly transfer a client from the care of one clinician in a certain setting to the care of another clinician in another setting. There are many reasons for this, but it most often happens due to lack of information sharing.
In the behavioral health community, where as many as 68 percent of adults with mental health conditions also have medical conditions, there is tremendous opportunity for cost savings – and more importantly, better client outcomes – if transitions of care are improved.
1994 — I was a budding journalist when something called the Information Superhighway began getting considerable mainstream attention. The TV commercial below was running at the time and made the little understood concept more mysteriously inviting.
Healthcare initiatives like care coordination, interoperability, and CDSS all rely on the ability to reliably and quickly share information. To be certain healthcare providers are successful in the future, they must not only provide better care with less, they must also become partners with providers from treatment settings previously considered disparate. Whether these are providers of mental health, substance use, public health, or primary care services, they must open their minds to parallel treatment paradigms while opening their systems to parallel data sources.
International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL)
April 12, 2013
As I mentioned, I have attended two noteworthy events recently. Last week, I shared with you about attending the MHCA event. This week, I will be talking about how I recently attended the seventh meeting of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) www.iimhl.com in Auckland New Zealand. IIMHL was created in 2003 primarily through the efforts of MHCA. Several of the members of Continue reading International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL)→